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Iraq 31, America 19, Afghanistan 11, Us 8, United States 8, Israel 6, U.s. 6, Reagan 3, Iran 3, John Boehner 2, Bush 2, Obama 2, Netanyahu 2, Washington 2, Pakistan 2, David Petraeus 2, Margaret Thatcher 1, Echos 1, Obama Administration 1, George W. Bush 1,
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  CSPAN    Today in Washington    News/Business. News.  

    September 1, 2010
    6:00 - 7:00am EDT  

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>> please, make sure the button is pressed. there you go. >> a quick comment. i am struck by the difference. the pressure pales in comparison to what they need to ask in 1991 and 1992. that is part the reason why i am convinced of the more victorian. altogether, there is a simple pressure. the second comment is about a rum. i do not really believe that anyone can think they can make any agreement. . .
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>> david, to quote you, if you didn't like the book, you wouldn't like the move -- movie.
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prime minister benjamin netanyahu said he would make no promisees. why would i like the movie? >> it seems the one part of this is clearly left wide open. we have one time between now and september 26. until now, netanyahu wants to say to the kneset, i have these talks without preconditions. i think he thinks that helps him domestically as well. once he's inside the talks, he may say, there are no preconditions. you could go for the settlement clusters, but not the other 95% for the west bank. it would mark for the first time
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by the netanyahu government of different types of settlements. i'm not sheer to say i know how it is going to be solved. if there is, you know, a push for building, he's out. netanyahu is saying, i'm not going to continue what exists. the question is, if between those positions there is a certain middle ground each side could be happy. there is some drama now. between now and september 26, i think this is the first test of the talks, and i think this issue has to be addressed in some form. even if netanyahu goes for the meridor idea, i think that is a different way to signal to the israeli people about your ultimate intentions, because you would say israel is not going to keep 95% of the west bank. >> just one initial thought about the settlement issue. there is really two promises out there.
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there is the public moritorium and then there is the private de facto no building in jeruslem. one could imagine the israeli government shifting on the quiet defacto no building in jeruslem, and they never made a promise not to do that. that would have an interesting trigger effect as well. there are options one could consider if one is creative about this. yes, please. >> is it conventional wisdom that this would mean the end of the two-state solution? ariel shimon, the -- how would
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netanyahu be able to do that with tens of thousands, probably hundreds of thousands of settlers to be removed from the best bank? >> clearly, implements would take longer. there have already been reports floated over the weekend. netanyahu sees a much longer implementation approach than israel has in the past. the palestinians you think there has been some flexibility, agree to the principle, whatever it takes to implement, fine. now, don't want to call it a shelf agreement as if it was theoretical, which i think it was not. if the implementation line was longer, i don't think that would upset people as much as an agreement on the principles. the israeli government has not
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had a great record in terms of resettling the gaza settlers. this is an area that needs to be studied more. but i think the important part for me is upgrading those 80% of the settlers that live in less than 4.5% of the land. they have been living in limbo since after the 1967 war to the point that there are now 300,000 people all together, 240,000 live in these settlement blocks many if you offer the 80% an upgrade, you are not a human bargaining chip anymore, that might tell most of the settlers there is something in it for them. if you tar them all with the same brush it is no question they will unite in opposition. i think the best idea would be to tell them to live near the old 1967 territory. you not going to be called occupied west bank, you are
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going to be called israel. you want to build sky-scrapers, go ahead. >> i don't know if it is going to be the answer to a two-state solution, but i know it will have a dramatic effect on domestic palestinian politics. as you know there is a split in ideology and domestic policy. you have hamas. negotiations will fail. this is what they are banking. if the norks fail, they will be in a stronger position. you have abas and the p.l.o. saying this is the only way to get statehood. if that succeeds, there will be success. if norblingses does not succeed, i don't see them surviving much longer. i believe hamas being in charge of the palestinian national movement is going to be a great blow to a two-state solution and might drag us back to 1970.
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>> i inkjected -- i injected history into our discussion early on. i have to at least note the two-state solution that is been part of the diplomacy in this conflict since 1937. we're now going on 73 years, and the chances that the two-state solution, in my view, is going to disappear from the lexicon in this conflict any time soon are fairly soon. with that, ladies and gentlemen, let me thank all my panelists for participating in today's event and thank all of you and all of you out in for -- out there for joining us in our discussion. [applause] >> thank you.
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>> search the term "mid east peace" on line at the c-span library and you will get more than ,000 transcripts including an early mike wallace interview of abba eban. it is washington and the world your way. >> president obama's address to the nation last night in about a half-hour. before that, house minority leader john boehner's speech on troop withdrawals. >> vice president joe biden will attend an exchange in military command ceremony on c-span2.
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after that, the financial inquigs begins a series of hearings and we'll hear from the chief executive office of lehman brothers. here on c-span, christina romer will be at the council of economic advisers to talk about the economy. >> then live coverage of a debate barbara boxer and fiorin a. >> now house minority leader john boehner at the american legion national convention in milwaukee, he criticized obama for claiming credit for a success built on a troop strategy that the president originally opposed.
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this is a little less than a half-hour. >> i want to thank the american legion for supporting our troops where ever they are stationed and caring for them when they come home. it is truly hero's work, and i snow i spoke on bea behalf of
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all of the united states congress when i say to all of you, thank you. i also want to glate commander hill and the hundreds of bikers who participated in yet another successful legacy run. all told you raised more than $360,000 for families of service members who have fallen in the line in the years following the terrorist attacks of september 11, 2001. your efforts serve as a reminder of our shared resolve as a country to never forget 9/11 and keep pace with the heroes that lost their lives that day often in the hopes that others might live. those memories don't fade, and these colors don't run. we honor the sacrifice of our 9/11 heroes today, tomorrow, always. thank you. thank you.
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thank you for the work you are helping to improve veterans access to the quality health care that they deserve. i was proud to work with the legion last year to stop a severely misguided plan to stop a practice of building service members for combat injuries. insurance companies don't send men and women into combat and our nation does, and our nation should take responsibility for that momentous decision. [applause] >> i was proud to stand with the legion this year to expose flaws in the health care law, and with the legion's help we successfully protected veterans
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health care rights. as important as this commitment is, just as important is the commitment to the dignity and respect that comes from holding the jobs. today as thousands of our warriors come home seeking to provide for their families and realize that the american dream dream that they volunteered to defend awaiting them is an economy that affords neither opportunities nor jobs. veterans unemployment today is at 11%. that's why i call on my colleagues in the congress and the president to join me in supporting a series of immediate actions to end the ongoing economic uncertainty and help more americans find an honest day's work. stimulus spending sprees, permanent bail outs, federal mandates and government take-overs have failed our nation and they have failed our veterans. it is time for a pressure start. [applause]
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we need a fresh start so that every man and woman who has worn the uniform of our nation knows that when they leave the service the stunt for a good job in the private sector will await them. it is an honor to share the stage today with secretary robert gates. i join him in thanking our brave men and women who have served in our -- and are currently serving in iraq. this day belongs to our froops whose courage and sacrifices have made the transition to a new mission in iraq possible. it is with profound gratitude that we reflect on all that our service members and their families have done and continue to do during a time of peril we also absolute the work of their commanders, general david petraeus. at this moment i can't help but
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think back to the time when the situation in iraq was grim and the future was bleak. general petraeus embarked on the surge strategy and it was widely viewed as our last chaste chance to save iraq from a spiral toward chaos. the consequences of failure then as now were severe. some leaders who opposed, criticized, and fought tooth and nail to fought the surge strategy now probably claim credit for the results. one leader in the u.s. us -- house of representatives declared the surge was a failure even before it was implemented. one leader in the united states senate said, and i quote, this war is lost, even as additional forces were being mobilized. wup lawmaker rejected the idea the surge would reduce violence in iraq saying, and again i'm
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quoting, in fact, i think we will do the reverse. these are lawmakers that supported and accepted support from an anti-war organization that ran a full-page add in the "the new york times" smearing a four-star general, a commander of men and women in uniform that were working in harm's way when they referred to him as "general betraus." today we mark not to defeat, but we mark progress. i want to thank president obama for setting aside his past political rhetoric and recognizing the importance of the sturge and the dip -- diplomatic agreement signed by president bush and prime minister malekyi. for troops and families, this war will not be over until they
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come home. though the mission has changed, their work is no less critical. there is no stronger bull wark against the mens in the region than a -- men -- there is no better argument against those who breach intoll rens and hatred than a free, stable, and thriving rack. -- iraq. the future of iraq will not be determined by the words politicians speak today but by their actions in the months and years aheads. the hard truth is that iraq will continue to remain a target for those that hope to destroy freedom and democracy. the people of that nation and this nation deserve to know what america is prepared to do if the
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cause for which our troops sacrificed their lives in iraq is threatened. i hope the president will address that question when he speaks tonight to the nation and the world. we have often heard about ending the war in iraq. we haven't heard much about winning the war in iraq. if we honor what our men and women fought for, we cannot turn our backs now on what they have achieved. when we support our troops, we support them all the way, and there is no such thing as supporting our troops but not the mission they are there to fight for. [applause] >> victory in iraq was the only option in 2007, and it is the only option now. >> the american legion understands that, and the american museum understand that.
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that's why we're here today talking about our troops returning home in success instead of gradual surrender. of course, too many of our own have returned home from iraq to be laid to rest. there sacrifices have not been in vain. and i know legion airs give -- legionnaires think of them in heart and deed. one fallen soldier's wife once worked in my congressional office. sergeant clay was one of the united states marine's killed in folugia in 2006. before he died, he left a letter for his family to be read in case he didn't make it home. in the letter, sergeant clay
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wrote, and i'll quote, what we have done in iraq is worth any sacrifice. why? because it was our duty. i know that sounds simple, but duty is a god-given task and without duty, life is worthless. this marine understood his duty to god and country, and we as elected leaders must understand our duty as well. [applause] >> our troops in harm's way should never have to doubt congress' mission to supporting
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them. when asked to help our troops in harm's way, we should do it without delay. that means no more troop funding bills held up by unrelated spending and pork barrel projects. [applause] >> we need a congress that understands when we send our sons and daughters to riss -- risk all in defense of our security, that victory is the only option, and that we will do whatever it takes to provide them with the necessary support so that they can return home swiftly and successfully. no voice, no matter how strong or committed, the voice of the commander-in-chief. that's why the president must take the time to articulate in a co-heerpt, consistent manner to the families and fellow citizens the cause, the purpose, and the goal did of this mission.
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this -- these imperatives should not be communicated in a manner of just checking a box. these missions should not be bunched together -- with a whole laundry list of political challenges. afghanistan is just not one of two wars. it is central to the global struggle against extremism and intoll rens. -- intolerance. the border of afghanistan that they share with pakistan is a virt wall command and control center where al-qaeda command and plan attacks against americans and allies. they must be resistent to the forces of extremism, and it must be resistent to becoming a potential safe-haven for terrorist organizations. i support our counterinsurgencey strategy in afghanistan. but the president must do more to emphasize his commitment to ensure success rather than focusing on an arbitrary
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deadline for withdrawl. and he also must place a greater emphasis on ensuring successful implementation of both the military and civilian components of his strategy. using campaign progress as yard sticks to measure projects and success in afghanistan runs the risk of triggering artificial spricktri laps and preem withdrawal dates unconnected to conditions on the ground. after years of hard fighting, are which has come at a high price, we cannot afford to underestimate the impact of domestic debates and political hedging, and what that will have on decisions made by friends and foe alike. if we're successful on accomplishing our goals in afghanistan, it will be because of the endurance, the discipline, and the patience of our troops. [applause]
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and i know that the american legion joins me in expressing our gratitude to our men and women serving in afghanistan today. [applause] the united states afford to think short-term when our enemies have proved on and on again they are in it for the long hall. this is a war that began long before the tragic events of 9/11. it is a war the american people did not seek and did not start. this is an enemy that first tried to blow up the world trade center in 1993. this is an enemy that took its desire to kill americans abroad to riyad in 1995. to the towers in 1996. to east africa in 1998. and to point -- the u.s.s. coal
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off the yemen coast in 2000. this is an enemy that wills the death and destruction of anyone who opposes them. before 9/11. united states terrorism were like a law enforcement issue. we handled each zens incident as a separate incident con dent -- we characterized the perpetrateors to be tried and contained rather than terrorists to be deterred and defeated. with zeens of this pre-9/11 to fulfill a campaign promise. the american people were told last year that keeping open the guantanamo bay prison which houses the worst of the worst served as a rallying cry for our enemies. we were told that closing the detension facilities and
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importing the remaining activities into the united states would diminish the threat. and then, starting with the plot to blow up the manhattan subway system, we witnessed four terrorist incidents on u.s. soil in an eight-month period, including the fort hood shooting, attempted christmas day bombing, and the failed times square bombing. each of these attacks represented new strands of terrorism, and wetch of these terrorists received varying degrees of support, but all had ties to international terrorist organizations and a radical exextremist platform. now more than ever the american people deserve every assurance that their government has the right legal authorities and the right mindset to place future and to prevent future attacks on american soil. just days ago the justice
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department announced that it would not be pursuing charges against the terrorists who allegedly coordinated the bombing of the u.s.s. coal. now, this is no garden variety terrorist. this is a terrorist who has the blood of 17 american soldiers on his hands. this is a terrorist that worked hand in hand with one of the 9/11 hijackers and the commander of the u.s.s. cole who fault for justice along side the demand commanders for justice said the obama administration is blatantly playing politics with this issue. when it comes to holding those who kill innocent americans possible for their heenous acts, politics should be the last thing on our minds. [applause] over the course of the last 20 months, it is clear that our
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country's overarching detension policy has been launched. we do not know the parameters for when, how, and under what circumstances we will capture, solicit information from, and detain illegal enemy combatants. ladies and gentlemen, we are a nation at war. a patchwork of political processes does not represent a coherent strategy to confront and defeat the threat. we need a congress that will hold our government accountable for an over-reaching capture detension and interrogation policy, and we need a congress that will use every tool at its disposal to keep terrorists off of u.s. soil. [applause] stopping at nothing to defeat the terrorist threat is how we can set an example for the rest of the world.
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our missions in iraq and afghanistan are also critical to maintaining america's century's old role as a selfless beacon of hope and opportunity. america did not become the last best hope of man by accident or by force. it was a choice. a choice first made by revolutionaries who faced down what was then the most powerful empire on earth. during a second snaul international radical address, president lincoln talked about how the union did not seek to make war but chose to accept war in freedom's defense rather than letting the nation perish. the height of our test of wills against the soviet communism, president reagan reaffirmed america's commitment to genuine peace but made certain that the evil empifere knew that we will never compromise our standards and we will never give away our freedom.
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ideas matter. when reports for president reagan's words reached athe gulogues and a soviet dissident tapped them out in morse code, and several years later when he was freed, eransky visited the oval office and he urged president reagan to keep giving his speeches so others who aspire to liberty could keep hearing his code of arms. th reagan's words spoke to another dissident, an electric tradition who shaped the solidarity movement and caused one of the first dents in the iron curtain. whether president reagan died 15 years after the berlin wall came down, this man said this, we in
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poland took him so personally. why? because we owe him our liberty. margaret thatcher said of president reagan that he took words and he sent them out to speak for us. what words are being sent out from our government to fight for the cause of freedom and democracy? what words does a prisoner in cuba's gulag or a freedom fighter in iran hear today? or those struggling to hold on to newly formed democracies in such places as georgia or the democracies in our own hems fear threatened by venezuela? if a prisoner in belarus or north korea hear nothing, if it is silence that echos in their cells rather than the firm words of american support, if they hear nothing, will they one day
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be able to sit in the oval office or write in the pages of a free media to thank an american president? never forget america remains the only nation on the face of the earth founded on an idea not an entity. an idea that free people can govern themselves and that government's powers are endo youed only through the consent of the governed. an idea that has the rights of all will be respected and prodetect tected and that -- protected and no one's right to pursue happiness will be limited. if america will not stand for freedom-loving people and those who seek to be free, whether in the guys of petty teerpy, rallies lamb, or any marxist regime, who on this earth will? ideas matter.
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our government must reawake kwlen itself to the task of providing a more robust defense of freedom and liberty, because when america does not articulate these enduring values in a forceful, consistent manner, when we do not send these words out to fight for us, we cause turmoil and confusion. our enemies take this as a sign of weakness or a dimming of our belief in our selfs. our allies see cause to be uncertain and unsettled about what role the united states will play in the future, and when we do not speak out, our deeds are left to speak for themselves. every time we make a concession to countries acting against our national interests, every time we ignore or snub the commitments or shared values and sacrifices of our allies, we pay a price. as we gather here, iran is
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working to very well nuclear weapons. contrary to the wishful thinking of some, the iranian regime is capable of doing a cost-benefit analysis of pursuing these weapons in the face of international isolation. iran is more than prepared to sacrifice the well being of its people for the chance to fundamentally change the balance of power in the region. it is the true source of instability in the region, and we must not naively assume that a nuclear armed iran. israel is surrounded by hate. surrounded by enemies that seek its destruction. israel is on the frontlines of the ideological and violent clash that we are confronted, and the attacks against it,
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weather through acts of violence, international criticism, or manipulation of the laws of war are often the vanguard of what our country will face. america stood by israel since harry truman sat in the oval office. our commitment to this long-standing friendship should be no less strong today. where i come from, you stick by your friends, and you stick by the people who share your values. you do not send a message of strength to your enemies by shunning your friends and allies. the foreign policy of the united states should not be built on a platform of apologies, corrections, and reset buttons. we will not confront and defeat the terrorist threat by blurring america's exceptionalism and
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backing out on america's commit lts. our country has paid a high cost these last nine years, and our military personnel and their families have paid the highest price. we have regarded how best to address these challenges. these debates have left a lot of scar tissue between the two parties and ideologies, but the challenges that we face know neither. we have serious decisions to make regarding our path forward, and these decisions will be made in an environment in which we borrow 41 septs of every dollar the federal government spends this year. this means we must focus on working together to identify our national security priorities in continued military economic soup yorte. just as americans -- america's founding was a choice,
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maintaining its greatness was a choice as well. today we choose to do what needs to be done, to do what we we know to be right, and to never accept the next best thing for our families, our country, or for freedom. these are articles of faith worth fighting to the last for. you have done t your comraded have died for it, and our troops have risked it all for it. all you have asked for and all they ask for today is the full support of their elected leaders and so long as i have anything to say about it, i'll give you my word they have it. [applause] high atop the dome of the united states capitol stands the united
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states statue of freedom. completed in 1863 during some of the darkest and most devicive days during the history of our country. what i love about the statue of freedom is that she faces to the east because the sun never sets on freedom's face. the sun never sets on an american pioneer, an american idea. an idea that generations have fought and died for, incurring a debt this nation can never fully repay. i want to thank you. i want to thank your families. god bless you and god bless your families, and god bless this great united states of america. [applause]
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>> president obama formally announceded are -- the end of the combat mission in iraq. he spoke for about 20 minutes. >> we have been through a decade of war. we have endured a long and painful resession, and sometimes in the midst of these storms, the future that we are trying to build for our nation, a future of lasting peace and long-term
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prosperity, may seem beyond our reach. but this milestone should serve as a reminder to all americans that the future is ours to shape . if we move forward with confidence and commitment. it should also serve as a message to the world that the united states of america intends to sustain and strengthen our leadership in this young century. from this desk, president bush announced the beginning of military oprages in iraq. much has changed since that night. a war to disarm a state became a fight an insurgencey. terrorism and sec tarne -- sectarian warfare threatened to tear iraq apart. thousands of americans gave their lives. tens of thousands have been wounded. our relations abroad were strained, our unity at home were
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strained. if there has been one constant amid these shifting times, at every turn america's men and women in uniform have served with courage and resolve. as commander-in-chief, i am incredibly proud of their service. like all americans, i am awed by their sacrifice. and by the sacrifices of their families. the americans who have served in iraq completed every mission they were given. they defeated the regime that terrorized its people together with iraqis and coalition partners that made huge sacrifices of their own our troops fought block by block to help iraq seize a better future. they shifted tactics to help the iraqi people, trained iraqi forces, and took out terrorist leaders. because of our troops and civilians, and because of the
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resilience of the iraqi people, iraq has the opportunity to embrace a new destiny. even though many challenges remain. so tonight, i am announcing that the american combat mission in iraq has ended. operation iraqi freedom is over. and the iraqi people now have lead responsibility for the security of their country. this was my pledge to the american people as a candidate for this office. last february i announced a plan that would bring our combat brigades out of iraq while redoubling our efforts to strengthen iraq's security forces and support its government and people. that is what we have done. we have removed nearly 100,000 u.s. troops from iraq. we have moved millions of pieces of equipment out of iraq. this completes the transition to
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iraqi responsibility for their own security. u.s. troops pulled out of iraqi cities last summer and iraqi troops have moved in with considerable skill. even as iraq continues to suffer attacks, security incidents have been near the lowest on record since the war began, and iraqi forces have taken the fight al-qaeda, removing much of its leadership in iraqi-led operations. this year also saw iraq hold credible electrics -- elections. a care-taker government is in place. tonight i encourage iraq's leaders to move forward with a sense of urgency to form an inclusive government that is just, representative, and accountable to the iraqi people. when that government is in place, there should be no doubt the iraqi people will have a strong partner in the united
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states. our combat mission is ending, but our commitment to iraq's future is not. going forward, a transitional force of u.s. troops will remain in iraq with a different mission, advising and assisting iraq's security forces. supporting counterterrorism organizations and protecting our civilians. consistent with our agreement with the iraqi government, all u.s. troops will leave by the end of next year. as our military draws down, our dedicated civilians, diplomats, aid workers, and advisors, are moving in for the lead to support iraq as it strengthens its government, resolves political disputes, resettles those displaced by war, and builds ties with the region and the world. that's a message that vice president biden is delivering to the iraqi people to his visit there today. this new approach reflects our
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long-term partnership with iraq, one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect. of course, violence will not end with our combat mission. extremists will continue to set off bombs, attack iraqi civilians, and try to spark sec tarne strife. -- sectarian strife. iraqis are a proud people. they have rejected sectarian war and they have no interest in endless destruction. they understand that in the end only iraqis can resolve their differences and police their streets. only iraqis can build a democracy within their borders. what america can do and will do sp provide support for the iraqi people as both a friend and a partner. and ending this war is not only in iraq's interest, it is in our
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own. the united states has paid a huge price to put the future of iraq in the hands of its people. we have sent our young men and women to make enormous sacrifices in iraq and spent vast resources abroad at a time of tight budgets at home. we have persevered because of a belief we share with the iraqi people, a belief that out of the ashes of war, a new beginning could be born in this grade l of civilization. through this remarkable chapter in the history of the united states and iraq, we have met our responsibilities. now it is time to turn the page. as we do, we are mindful that the iraq war has been a contentious issue at home. here, too, it is time to turn the page. this afternoon i spoke to former president george w. bush. it is well known that he and i disagreed about the war from its outset. yet no one can doubt president
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bush's support for our troops or his love of country and commitment to our security. as i have said, there were patriots who supported this war and patriots who opposed it, and all of us are united in our support of the men and women who fought for the united states. our dwsh we learn from our experience as we confront the challenges ahead, and no challenge is more essential to our security than our fight against al-qaeda. americans across the political spectrum supported the use of force against those who afacted us on 9/11. now, as we approach our 10th year of combat in afghanistan, there are those who are understandably asking tough questions about our mission then, but we must never lose sight of what's at stake p as we speak, al-qaeda continues to plot against us, and its
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leadership remains ancored in the border regions of afghanistan and pakistan. we will disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al-qaeda while preventing al-qaeda for again serving as a base for terrorists. because of our drawdown in iraq we are able to provide the resources necessary to go on offense. in fact, over the last 19 months, nearly a dozen al-qaeda leaders and hundreds of al-qaeda's exextremist allies have been killed or captured around the world. within afghanistan i have ordered the deployment of additional troops who under the command of general david petraeus are fighting to break the taliban's momentum. as for the surge in iraq, these sources will be in place for a limited time to provide space for the afghans to fill their capacity and build their own future. as was the case in iraq, we can't do for afghans what they
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must ultimately do for themselves. that's why we are training afghan security forces and supporting a political resolution to afghan's political problems. next august we will begin a transition to afghan responsibility. the pace of our troop reductions will be depermed by conditions on the ground, and our support for afghanistan will endure. but make no mistake, this transition will begin because open-ended war serves neither our interests nor the afghan people's. indeed one of the efforts -- lessons of our efforts in iraq is that we must not use military force alone, we must use all elements of our power including our diplomacy, economic strength, and the power of america's example to secure our interests and stand by our allies. we must project a vision of the
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future that is based not just on our fears but our visions and hopes. a future that recognizes the limitless possibilities of our time. today old adversaries are at peace and emerging democracies are our potential partners. a good stretch from asia to the americas. a new push for peace in the middle east will begin here tomorrow. billions of young people want to move beyond the shackles of poverty and conflict. as the leader of the free world, america will do more than just defeat on the battlefield those who offer hate and destruction. we will lead among those throg work together to expand freedom and opportunity for all people. now, that effort must begin within our own borders. throughout our history america has been willing to bear the burden of promoting liberty overseas understanding its links
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to our own liberty and security. we have also understood that our nation's scompurt abroad must be firmly ancored in our prosperity at home, and the bedrock of that prosperity must be a growing middle class. unfortunately, over the last decade, we have not done what's necessary to shore-up the foundations of our own prosperity. we spent $1 trillion at war. this in turn has short-changed vetchts in our own people and contributed to record deficits. for too long we have put off tough decisions on everything from our manufacturing base to our energy policy to education reform. as a result, too many middle class families mind they will selves working harder for less while our nation's long-term competitiveness is put at risk. and so at this moment, as we wind down the war in iraq, he --
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we must tackle those challenges at home with as much energy and grip and sense of common purpose as our men and women in uniform who had served abroad. they have met every test that they faced. now it is our turn. it is our responsibility to honor them by coming together, all of us, and working to secure the tream that so many generations have fought for. the dream that a better life awaits anyone who is willing to work for it and reach for it. our most urgent task is to restore our economy and put the millions of americans who have lost their jobs back to work. to strengthen our middle class, we must give all our children the education they deserve and all our workers the skills they need to compete in a general economy. we must jump start the creation of jobs. we must unleash the innovation
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that allows machines to roll off our aassembly lines and advance the ideas that spring from our entrepreneurs. this must be our central mission as a people and my central responsibility as president. part of that responsibility is making sure that we honor our commitments to those who have served our country with such valor. as long as i am president, we will maintain the finest fighting force that the world has ever known, and we will do whatever it takes to serve our veterans as well as they have served us. this is a sacred trust and that's why we have already made one of the largest increases for receipt rans funding in decades. we are treating the wounds of today's wars, post-traumatic stress disorder while providing the health care and benefits all of our veterans have earned. we are funding a post-9/11 g.i. bill that helps the vetrands and
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their families pursue the dream of a college education. just as the veterans who fought in world war ii, including my grandfather, becoming the backbone of our middle class. so today's service men and women must be able to expand their economy. part of ending a war responsibly is by standing by those who have fought in it. two weeks ago america's final combat brigade in iraq, the army's 4th striker brigade, journeyed home in the predawn darkness. thousands tf vehicles passed baghdad, the last of them passing kuwait in the early morning hours. over seven years before american troops and coalition partners had fought their way across similar highways. this time no thoths shots were fired. it was just a convoy of brave americans making their way home.
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of course the soldiers left much behind. some were teenagers when the war began. many have served multiple tours of duty far from families who bore a heroic burden of their own and during the absence of a husband's embrace, most painfully since the war began, 55 members of the fourth striker brigade made the ultimate sacrifice. over 4,400 americans have given their lives in iraq. as one staff sergeant said, i know that to my brothers in arms who fought and died, this day would probably mean a lot. those americans gave their lives for the values that have lived in the hearts of our people for over two centuries. along with nearly 1.5 million americans who have served in iraq, fought in a far-away place
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for people they never knew, they staired into the darkest of human creations, war, and helped the iraqi people seek the light of peace. in an age surrender ceremonies, we must earn victory to the success of our partners and the strength of our nation. every american that serves joins an unbroken line of heros that stretches from lexington to gettysburg, from iwo jima, from kasan to kandahar. americans that fought to -- our troops are the steel in our ship of state. and though our nation may be traveling through rough waters, they give us confidence that our course is true. and that beyond the predawn
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darkness better days lie ahead. thank you. may god bless you, and may god bless the united states of america and all who serve her. >> in a few moments, today's headlines and your calls live on wurnl. -- "washington journal."